Star Wars: Episode III’: The Vanity Fair Preview

Are you willing to be seduced by the dark side of the Force? Complete with an army of Wookies, the ultimate lightsaber duel and the rise of Darth Vader, the epic ‘Star Wars’ saga comes to a rousing conclusion this summer when ‘Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith’ dominates theaters worldwide.

Tonight on ET, we go behind the scenes of the final ‘Star Wars’ film and get a sneak peek at the unprecedented, four-panel cover of Vanity Fair magazine, on newsstands Jan. 11, that brings together some of the biggest stars of all six films, including MARK HAMILL, HARRISON FORD, CARRIE FISHER and BILLY DEE WILLIAMS alongside NATALIE PORTMAN, HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN, EWAN McGREGOR, LIAM NEESON, SAMUEL L. JACKSON and GEORGE LUCAS (and, of course, Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca)!

“This is the movie for people who didn’t quite get the last two but enjoyed the first three,” says JIM WINDOLF, contributing editor for Vanity Fair. “They’re going to understand because there’s going to be Wookies. So you can’t go wrong with a lot of Wookies in the movie.”

For the hardcore, serious ‘Star Wars’ fans, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ promises to wrap up everything and connect the two different series (the three prequels and episodes IV-VI) into one, big, six-part story, “which is really about the rise and fall of Darth Vader,” says Windolf, who got the goods from ‘Star Wars’ mastermind Lucas in an extended interview.

The ‘Star Wars’ saga actually began in 1972, when the then-27-year-old Lucas was finishing up ‘American Graffiti’ and hoping to make a movie that brought together elements of some his favorite influences, from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ Buck Rogers and the Flash Gordon serials to even the James Bond films. Little did he know that after he managed to launch ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 (now re-titled ‘Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope’) that he would devote 30 years to his immensely popular tale.

Six years ago, ‘Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace’ introduced Anakin Skywalker (JAKE LLOYD) as an innocent boy from the planet Tattooine who becomes involved with the Jedi knights against the forces of evil. In ‘Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones,’ Anakin (now played by Christensen) was trained as a Jedi by his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) as the Clone Wars erupted and he fell in love with Queen Amidala (Portman). Now, in ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ Anakin falls prey to the influence of the evil emperor Palpatine (IAN McDIARMID), who is amassing his forces to create the evil Empire. Of course, audiences will finally get to see the big lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan that brings about the rise of Darth Vader.

“Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen worked with the martial arts expert at the Skywalker Ranch for eight hours a day for weeks perfecting these moves so it looks natural,” says Windolf. “We know that in the original ‘Star Wars’ movie Darth Vader ends up killing Obi-Wan Kenobi, so this is going to be a battle that is going to severely injure Anakin Skywalker and it looks like this is the reason Darth Vader has to wear that suit.”

The tone of ‘Revenge’ will be darker than the usual ‘Star Wars’ movies, and Lucas “hints that Anakin Skywalker is literally going to go to the underworld, to hell itself,” says Windolf. “He says it’s going to be a violent movie; it looks like he’s prepared to accept a PG-13 rating,” which none of the previous films have received.

Now that he’s pretty much done with his 33-year project (there are no more ‘Star Wars’ movies planned), what’s next for Lucas? “He talks like a man who is really glad to be finished,” says Windolf. “Although he is enthusiastic about making these movies, he started working on them in 1972.” In fact, Lucas actually considered himself to be an avant-garde filmmaker when he first started out of film school, and he told Windolf he’d still like to go out with just a camera on his shoulder and a small crew “and make documentaries or something.” The world awaits!

Watch ET for more on George Lucas and ‘Revenge of the Sith’

Comments are closed.